An intimate interview explaining Hurricane’s best practices
November 2012 – This month, Thumbtack.com is featuring Hurricane in the Spotlight, a premier space on their website dedicated to giving a more intimate introduction of a selected business for customers.
Thumbtack isn’t like typical local search directories; it actually gives you the ability to vet, contact, and book service professionals the moment you find them. For a customer, it’s like shopping for services and asking companies to bid on their request. Quite frankly, it’s the new way to do on-line shopping for homeowners!
In the last few months, Hurricane has being experimenting with Thumbtack to enhance our list of customer leads in the Bay Area. To see Hurricane’s Spotlight, click here and see the right column entitled “Thumbtack Spotlight.”
Or read the whole thing here:
How did your business/company start, and what was the greatest challenge that you encountered along the way?
Paul Sonnabend started a hauling business in 1989 and his brother, David Sherman, signed on as co-owner a few years later. Originally, Hurricane Hauling & Demolition, Inc. serviced only Marin County but with extra manpower and a growing need for demolition, we added the deconstruction, demolition, tree and yard services for Marin, San Francisco, Contra Costa, Alameda, San Mateo, Napa, and Sonoma Counties. We saw an opportunity to keep everything we were hauling out of the landfill by recycling or repurposing items.
Besides maintaining our own family-business during a fluctuating economy, the greatest challenge we encountered along the way has been competing against non-local, corporations in the same industry. For any small company, corporate franchises with nationwide support and unlimited, financial resources are a realistic threat. We have managed to keep our loyal customers and reach new ones with personal service, efficient work, and competitive prices.
How would you describe your usual clients in terms of status, needs, and level of satisfaction toward your services?
Our commercial clients are often general contractors looking for subcontractors to do large-scale demolition or deconstruction projects in the Bay Area. They can also include restaurant, gallery, school, museum, and store owners.
Our residential clients are homeowners, property owners, real estate agencies, or renters who are doing remodels, renovations, or site cleanup. Their needs usually peek during the summer or fall months when they need us to do the heavier, seasonal debris hauling.
Not many other demolition companies can offer specialized deconstruction or the ability to recycle 80%-100% of the materials that are hauled away, in bio-fueled trucks no less. Homeowners can receive a tax dedication for 30% of the value of the salvaged materials, which is usually assessed by a professional appraiser. Although deconstruction costs are higher than those of demolition because of time and labor, that cost is offset and sometimes surpassed with the tax deductions in the end.
What do you think is the most effective strategy to keep your customers happy and satisfied with your service?
Our most effective strategy to provide high quality services is to be professional throughout our entire relationship with our customers. To us, this means maintaining responsibility for our crew and site; showing up and finishing on time; being responsive to requests; and communicating clearly with clients. And most of all, it means leaving a site cleaner than we found it! We value having our residential clients tell us how they love having our friendly crew around their house! The best compliment they can give us is referring us to their friends and family.
What was your most favorite and successful project?
One of our most favorite projects was the recent deconstruction of a 3,500 square foot house in Mill Valley with James Josephs Construction. All the lumber, fixtures, appliances, and other salvaged items were donated to charities or salvage yards. The fact that hardly anything ended up in the landfill was validation enough that deconstruction really does work and that there is a true need for demolition companies to rethink their idea of “unusable.” The homeowner even ended up getting a significant tax break because he didn’t demolish the house. Plus, it’s always a success when everything runs smoothly, on time, and without injury. The space we cleared was even more beautiful without the house.
In a short line, how would you entice your potential consumers to book your service?
“We are in the business of sustainability.” We approach our services with the triple bottom line of people, planet, and profit. Every time a potential customer contacts us, we see it as an opportunity to keep waste out of the landfill and educate others about ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle.
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